When choosing between an automatic and manual transmission car, it is a simple question of whether you prefer to let the car change gear or to remain in full control of the gear selection yourself. Driving a stick shift tends to become tiresome in start-stop urban traffic or when you have to take off from a hill, but this cannot deter enthusiastic drivers who swear by manual gearboxes, often claiming that they offer more involvement with the car.
It is, however, unfortunate when shift stick enthusiasts operate their manual transmission car incorrectly resulting in costly damage over time. Here are some myths about manual transmissions that could cause you grief in the future:
Myth #1: There is no problem with “riding” the clutch
The clutch connects two rotating shafts: the driving member (engine) and the driven member (power output shaft to the wheels. It should be fully depressed when shifting the gear or fully released when driving at a certain speed. Whenever the clutch is partially engaged, you’re putting wear on it. So, the less time spent when changing gears, the better for your transmission.
Myth #2: You can hold your car in place on steep hills using the clutch
This means “riding” your clutch, which will wear your clutch faster. If you have to stop on an incline and are afraid that the car will roll back when starting motion again, you can use the emergency brake to hold the car in place as you balance the gas and clutch. Release the E-brake the moment you start moving forward.
Myth #3: You can save your brakes by decelerating with downshifts
You can slow down the car by downshifting, but this is usually more trouble than it is worth. Furthermore, if the process is not smooth, you will be putting more wear on your clutch. Even if you are able to downshift smoothly and release the clutch properly, it will not prolong the longevity of your brakes that much.
Myth #4: It is not always possible to engage the clutch without jerking the car
You can actually enjoy smooth shifts by learning the exact position of the clutch pedal when the clutch starts to engage. Once you are familiar with this position, you will be able to shift gears and quickly release the pedal to that point, allowing you to start and stop easily on an incline.
Myth #5: Lurching when downshifting is normal
Lurching happens when you downshift without matching the engine speed to the vehicle speed. When you are not coming to a complete stop, try to “rev-match” by increasing the engine rpm as you release the clutch when downshifting in order to closely match your engine speed to the wheel speed.
Improper use of the clutch can cause it to wear faster. In case of any manual transmission car troubles, stop by the Pro-Tech shop for a full check-up.